Concepts characterizing the structure, functioning and development...

Concepts that characterize the structure, functioning and development of systems

The usual interpretation of the concepts considered above in the definitions of the system ( element, connection , etc.) does not always coincide with their meaning as special terms for system description and analysis of objects. Therefore, we briefly review the basic concepts that help to clarify the concept of the system.

Usually, it is common to divide concepts into two groups (Figure 3.1): 1) concepts that are part of the definition of the system and characterize its structure; 2) concepts that characterize the functioning and development of systems.

The concepts that are part of the definition of the system are closely related and, in the opinion of L. von Bertalanffy, can not be determined independently, but are determined, as a rule, one through another, refining one another, and therefore the sequence of their presentation adopted here should be considered conditional.


An element is usually understood as the simplest, indivisible part of the system. However, the answer to the question what is such a part can be ambiguous.

Fig. 3.1. Basic concepts that characterize the structure, functioning and development of the system

For example, as the elements of the table can be called "legs, boxes, lid, etc.", and you can - "atoms, molecules," depending on what task is facing the researcher.


Similarly, in the enterprise management system elements can be considered subdivisions of the management apparatus, and it is possible - for each employee or every operation that he performs. A misunderstanding of this problem was associated with a typical error in the examination of the existing control system as the first stage of the development of the automated control system: the engineers, in accordance with their completeness approach, analyzed all documents, up to the requisites, which significantly delayed the work, while for the development of the technical specification for the creation of the ASIS was not required for this detailing.

Therefore, we will adopt the following definition: an element is the limit of the system's division from the point of view of the aspect of consideration, the solution of a particular problem, the stated goal.

To help isolate elements when analyzing specific problem situations, you can, as shown in Ch. 1, use the information approach, and in particular, the measure of perception information (1.13 ) J = A /ΔA, where ΔА is the minimum amount of material property A <(i) (quantum) which the researcher is interested in information about this property when forming the model. Examples of using this method of determining the element base will be given in Ch. 5-7 (in particular, in the modeling of the market situation).

The system can be divided into elements in various ways, depending on the formulation of the task, the goal and its refinement in the process of conducting a system study. If necessary, you can change the principle of dismemberment, select other elements and get a more adequate idea of ​​the analyzed object or problem situation with the help of the new partition.

Defining the element, I had to use the notion the target which will be described below (the concepts included in the definition of the system, as noted above, can not be determined independently of each other), so an attempt was made not to to use the concept of the goal, and to place the notions of the aspect of the consideration, of the problem, next to it, although it is more accurate to use the notion goal.

Components and subsystems

Sometimes the term element is used in a broader sense, even when the system can not be immediately divided into components that are the limit of its division. However, in the case of multi-level system partitioning, it is better to use other terms stipulated in the theory of systems: complex systems are generally first divided into subsystems, or pa components.

The concept of the subsystem implies that a relatively independent part of the system is distinguished that has the properties of the system, and in particular, has a sub-goal to achieve which the subsystem is oriented, as well as other properties - integrity, communicativity, etc., determined by the regularities of the systems considered in paragraph 1.5.

If the parts of the system do not have such properties, but are simply sets of homogeneous elements, then such parts are usually called components.

By dissecting the system into subsystems, it should be borne in mind that, just as in the case of partitioning into elements, the allocation of subsystems depends on the goal and can change as it is refined and the researcher's ideas about the analyzed object or problem situation develop.

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